Singing together is good for community

As the deadline to join the Cascade Foothills Chorale draws near, President Bonnie Azzelino wants folks to know that singing with neighbors, a congregation or classmates can lead to the path of a successful life.

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

As the deadline to join the Cascade Foothills Chorale draws near, President Bonnie Azzelino wants folks to know that singing with neighbors, a congregation or classmates can lead to the path of a successful life.

According to a new study by Chorus America, an estimated 32.5 million adults regularly sing in choruses today, up from 23.5 million estimated in 2003. And when children are included, there are 42.6 million Americans singing in choruses in 2009. More than 1 in 5 households have at least one singing family member, making choral singing the most popular form of participation in the performing arts for both adults and children.

The Chorus America study also noted singing in one of the 270,000 choruses in the U.S., such as a community chorus or a school or church choir, is strongly correlated with qualities that are associated with success throughout life – greater civic involvement, discipline and teamwork.

The study also noted:

• Choral singers exhibit higher levels of civic involvement, with choristers almost three times more likely to be officers or committee members of local community organizations like PTA.

• Seventy-eight percent of choral singers indicated they “at least sometimes” volunteer their time in their community, while only 50 percent of the general public say the same.

• Seventy-four percent of choral singers agree or strongly agree that singing in a chorus has helped them become better team leaders or team participants in other areas of their lives; nearly two-thirds agree or strongly agree that being in a chorus has helped them socialize better in other areas of their lives.

• Choral singers donate 2.5 times more money to philanthropic organizations than the general public.

• Ninety-six percent of choral singers surveyed who are eligible voters said they vote regularly in national and local elections; only 70 percent of the general public cites the same level of participation.

• Civic engagement also extends to patronage of other art forms, with choral singers at least two times more likely to attend theater, opera and orchestra performances as well as visit museums and art galleries.

The community-based Cascade Foothills Chorale’s membership is open through Oct. 1 in preparation for its holiday concert titled “Christmas Was Made for…”

Membership is open to singers 18 years old and older, and students 16 to 18 years old with parent permission. Under the direction of Jeremy Matheis, rehearsals are from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Thursdays in the Enumclaw High School choir room. Rehearsal began Sept. 10.

Dues are $30 per semester, and the fall concert outfit runs about $100. Anyone interested in joining or would like more information can contact Azzelino at singers@cfchorale.org or call 253-486-5046.

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